Kimi Raikkonen takes second Australian GP victory
Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus have opened their 2013 Formula 1 World Championship campaign in perfect fashion, taking the Australian Grand Prix victory.
The race was a typically tyre strategy-dependent affair, with the two-stopping Finn taking the flag a full 12.4s ahead of second-placed Fernando Alonso.
Sebastian Vettel, Felipe Massa, Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber rounded out the top six, will all bar Raikkonen completing three stops.
Webber’s race was hampered by a shocking start that saw the Red Bull drop from second on the grid to a low of seventh.
Starting on the medium tyres after qualifying outside the top 10, Adrian Sutil ran at the front for much of the race, but fell to seventh with a difficult third and final stint on the super softs.
Team-mate Paul di Resta was eighth ahead of Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean.
Daniel Ricciardo retired with 19 laps remaining, his Toro Rosso suffering a broken exhaust.
Nico Rosberg was also on the retirements list after a mid-race electrical failure on his Mercedes.
Others in trouble were Pastor Maldonado, who spun into the gravel and out of the race on Lap 25, and Nico Hulkenberg, who failed to take the start after a fuel system failure on his Sauber.
The race was run in largely dry conditions, with threatening cloud cover only bringing occasional light drizzle.
Raikkonen now has two Australian Grand Prix victories to his name following his 2007 success in his first race for Ferrari.
Vettel led away from his pole position before the leading contenders made early first stops to change from the super soft to the medium rubber.
Vettel, Massa, Alonso and Raikkonen ran line-astern behind the yet-to-pit Sutil in the second stint, with the Spaniard then leap-frogging his way to the front of the train via an early second stop.
Raikkonen by contrast ran long in his second stint. His strategy was further helped by his rivals again coming across off-sequence runners early in their third spells.
That left Alonso to rejoin from his final stop almost 10 seconds adrift of Raikkonen and, despite enjoying younger tyres, the Ferrari had no answer for its black and gold rival.
The 2013 Formula 1 World Championship continues with the Malaysian Grand Prix this weekend.
See below for the full race result
|2||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||58||+12.4 secs||5|
|3||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||58||+22.3 secs||1|
|4||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||58||+33.5 secs||4|
|5||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||58||+45.5 secs||3|
|6||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||58||+46.8 secs||2|
|7||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||58||+65.0 secs||12|
|8||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||58||+68.4 secs||9|
|9||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||58||+81.6 secs||10|
|10||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||58||+82.7 secs||8|
|11||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||58||+83.3 secs||15|
|12||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||58||+83.8 secs||13|
|13||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||57||+1 Lap||18|
|14||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||57||+1 Lap||16|
|15||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||57||+1 Laps||19|
|16||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||56||+2 Lap||22|
|17||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||56||+2 Laps||20|
|18||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||56||+2 Laps||21|
|Ret||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||39||+19 Laps||14|
|Ret||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||26||+32 Laps||6|
|Ret||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||24||+34 Laps||17|
|Ret||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||0||Fuel System||11|